By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman
Your skills fit the job description to a T and you really hit it off with the engineering manager. But you interviewed a week ago and you haven’t heard a peep. Should you assume that you weren’t selected, or should you follow up?
According to Boyer Management, a talent optimization and performance management company, post interview follow-up is a job seeker’s weakest link. Only 30 percent correctly answered questions about how to follow up after an interview.
The bottom line: You absolutely need to follow up throughout the hiring process. However, how you follow up and when can make all the difference in the world.
Ask about the timeline
Always ask about the timeframe for a decision when you speak with someone from HR or the engineering manager. Knowing the timing of each step in the hiring process will help you know when it’s appropriate to follow up. Follow these guidelines if you’re unsure.
- Call to introduce yourself within three days of submitting your resume or application. Then follow up weekly until your status is clear.
- Send a thank you note within 24 hours after an interview or phone screen.
- Unless you receive specific instructions, wait three to five business days to follow up after an interview.
Express gratitude, interest and offer value
Email is the best way to convey your thanks and interest following an interview. For lengthy hiring processes, alternate between phone and email. A brief conversation will not only refresh the engineering manager’s memory, it will create a personal bond. It may even spark one or two additional questions. Clearing up lingering issues after an interview is often the key to inciting an offer.
Set yourself apart by referencing something from your conversation and offering the manager valuable information, such as a link to a relevant article or report. After all, any communication that provides benefits to the other party is bound to resonate. Plus, offering information is a discreet, professional way to follow up.
For example, you might write, “I certainly enjoyed our conversation about stress wave methods. I thought you might appreciate this article by Professor Smith at North Carolina State. His analysis seemed spot-on and insightful. Again, thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.”
In fact, sharing an informative link or an invitation to a conference or webinar is a great way to follow up with engineering managers that you happen to meet at networking events or job fairs. They’re sure to think of you when an opportunity arises if you make the effort to touch base from time to time.
Another way to stand out in your follow-up communications is to mention news about the engineering firm. Highlight an award, a new contract or something related to the position you’re pursuing. Or, congratulate the engineering manager on a recent achievement or reference in a trade publication. Again, it’s a subtle way to show your interest whether you’re actively pursuing a positon or would like to be considered for future opportunities.
Know when to move on
If the firm exceeds its time frame, by all means follow up. Don’t point out their oversight, just reaffirm your interest, share an insightful tip and ask if you’re still being considered for the position.
Don’t overdo it. If you’ve followed up a couple of times and the engineering manager still doesn’t respond, it’s probably best to move on. He or she may consider you for other contract or full-time opportunities just because you took the time to follow up.
Other information of potential interest
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